Monday, December 17, 2012

Honey Pots / Honey Jars by DirtKicker Pottery

Raindrops on Roses Honey Pot
by DirtKicker Pottery

I love local organic honey.   It's so good for allergies.  We have hills covered in sage brush and rabbit brush and when it blooms it causes such bad allergies... sinus headache, itchy eyes, sneezing.   I discovered that if I use some of that local honey in my tea, I don't get allergies so bad.   It's awesome and yummy too.

Vintage Rose Honey Pot
by DirtKicker Pottery

Wheel thrown honey pots are adorable and convenient.

Sunflower Honey Pot
by DirtKicker Pottery

Visit my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop to see honey pots in stock.  If I'm out of stock, don't worry, I usually include honey pots in each kiln firing.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Super Cute Small Berry Bowls

Blueberry Berry Bowl
by DirtKicker Pottery

A few weeks ago I blogged about this adorable one-piece small berry bowls.  I wanted to share the finished results.  I absolutely love how they turned out.  
Raspberry Berry Bowl
by DirtKicker Pottery

I hope these will be a hit because I love making them, plus I have so many ideas for cute decorative details.

See pieces from my latest kiln opening.   

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Advancer Kiln Shelves Review

These are Advancer Kiln Shelves .   

- No kiln wash  (Most glaze drips scrape right off)
- Light weight
- Thin (more room in the kiln) 
- They don't warp
- They are strong - won't crack or chip

- Very expensive
- Heavy high fire Porcelain pieces can stick to the shelf

Since I use a porcelain blend, I just sprinkle a little Alumina Hydrate on the shelf before loading the ware.  Just to be on the safe side.  

The light weight shelves made loading the kiln so easy.  The dark color makes it easier to view the position of the pots. 

The surface of the shelves is a satin finish.  To the touch they feel like a coated frying pan surface.

Without these shelves I would need help to load and unload my kiln.  I have neck and back problems.  I can't lift the big kiln shelves anymore.
I love Advancer Shelves!

*  UPDATE:  2/14/2014:
I've been using these shelves for over a year and I've never had a problem with my cone 6 porcelain ware sticking to the shelves.   I love, love, love these shelves!

*  UPDATE #2:  11/29/2015:
I've been using the shelves for 3 years and I can't ever imagine going back to standard kiln shelves.  No problems at all, just awesome performing kiln shelves.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Heart Shaped Nesting Bowls

Country Heart Nesting Bowls
by DirtKicker Pottery

Is food really the way to a man's heart?   Of course it is.    No matter how crappy of a day my husband might have, making him a really yummy dinner can turn his frown upside-down. 

These heart nesting bowls turned out very sweet and they stack nicely.  I must have taken 50 photos of them.  I just get carried away with lighting and staging.   It's a good thing I'm not a photographer, I would drive my self nuts.

Nesting bowls will be listed in my Etsy Shop within a day or so.   I hope you will stop by and take a look :)


Monday, October 15, 2012

Covered Butter Dishes by DirtKicker Pottery

Sunflower Butter Dish in Rustic Blue
DirtKicker Pottery

I always seem to make the things that I really need.. but after I'm finished making the item, I feel compelled to sell it, and then I'm left without the thing that I really needed. 

These covered butter dishes are handbuilt.  Not something that I can just whip together really quick.  They take time to make and time and pampering to dry straight and without warping.

Rustic Heart Butter Dish in Country White
DirtKicker Pottery

I will be including covered butter dishes as a regular item in my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop.  If I'm running low on stock, don't worry, I will have more in my next firing.

Rustic Victorian Butter Dish
DirtKicker Pottery

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DIY Trimming Shield for the Quick Trim II

I purchased the Quick Trim II a few weeks ago.  After the first use I was on a mission to figure out a way to control the flying trimmings.   

I went online and found nothing commercially made for the problem.  I did  find a few potters getting creative with garbage cans and card board boxes.   My saving grace was a facebook message from Nancy Braches at Hill Top Pottery.  She shared her idea of using a thin plastic shelf liner.  Nancy's installation is different from mine.  She did some cutting of the plastic and installed the shield directly inside the splash pan.  If you want to see it, check out her Facebook page.


I decided to attach the shield on the outside of the splash pan.  I used a bungie cord to hold it snug.   I purchased the shelf liner online from Global Industrial.  It cost $8.25 plus shipping.    The size I ordered is 36" x 18" and I didn't need to make any modifications at all.    The bungie cord I bought at Walmart in the sports department.      

This Trim Shield worked just awesome!!!    Easy to set up and easy to take down.

The Quick Trim II is very easy and versatile.  I just love it. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rustic Blue Pottery Piggy Bank

Rustic Blue Pottery Piggy Bank 9-4-12

Country Rose Mug and
Rustic Piggy Bank, by DirtKicker Pottery

A couple cute new pieces from this mornings kiln.

Coming soon to DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

organizing glaze chemicals

This week I've been working on organizing my glaze chemicals. John bought me a nice cabinet and containers for my birthday. My retired potter friend Jack, gifted me his collection of glaze chemicals, which included several materials that are no longer available. 

I used my spray booth to help keep the dust contained while transferring the materials from old paper bags and coffee cans to new clear plastic containers.  It worked so well that I probably didn't need a mask, but I used one anyway. Can't be too safe, right?

Most of my containers are from Walmart. More than I really wanted to pay, but when I went online to order in bulk, it wasn't must less, plus the shipping was crazy expensive.

With my small materials collection added to Jack's 40 year collection, I feel that I have a excellent base to start doing some serious glaze testing.

Making my own glaze has been a goal of mine for a long while. I just haven't had the patience to really jump in. I have a few base recipes picked out and I'm going to start experimenting slowly.  "GlazeMaster" should help me keep the glazes safe.  Hopefully along the way the pieces of the puzzle will come together.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Celtic Goblets - BRAVE Movie

Celtic Goblets

My Daughter Bobbi and I have been looking forward to Disney's "Brave" movie for weeks.   We finally went to see it and it was great!   I made these goblets with the "Brave" movie in mind. 
I have a love for the Celtic style.  I think it's in my blood.  My Great Grandfather was a glass artist from Ireland.  My Great Grandma was a firey redhead from Glasgow Scotland.  I'm pretty sure they would have loved these goblets too.
I'm not a big fan of the hollow base chalice style goblet, mostly because when I make them, they end up looking like the leaning tower of pisa. 


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

be inspired, but make it your own

Starry Night Vase   

I am often inspired by other artists (hence VanGogh's Starry Night).   I ask myself how can I take "my feelings" of VanGogh's painting and put them into making a vase or mug or platter?    If you can reach into your feelings, you can be inspired by anything.  Nature, heart break, music, love, art, need..  anything.   Learning to tap into your own creativity will result in a piece that is inspired, but also unique to you.  The coolest part is that the piece will emit your feelings.   

There is a huge difference between "inspiration" and "duplication".  I don't believe that an artist can "duplicate" the work of another artist and truly be satisfied.

I can't imagine why anyone would want to miss out on the creative process. That's where the intrigue and satisfaction comes in for me.  Taking time and risks that results in something special, brings heart to the piece.

I have many customers who tell me that when they use my pottery it makes them feel happy.  I am convinced that the love I have for making pottery flows though the piece to the person who uses it.

I think anyone can learn to make an empty pot, but an artist can make an empty pot feel full.  

I make my Starry Night Series Pottery at least once a year.  Check my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nesting Bowls

Nesting Bowl Set
by DirtKicker Pottery

I love making Nesting Bowls!  For some reason they always turn out really nice.   If we were talking about teapots, now that is an entirely different story.  I can't make a flawless teapot to save my life.
The balance of height and width is as perfect as I would want them to be.  
The outer surface of the bowls have a frosty crackle effect.  I love the results.
The rim shape isn't just cool to look at, the twist can be used as a handle or even a pouring spout.

Like most of my pottery, these bowls have a country cottage style.

These bowls and other cool pottery are available for purchase in my Etsy Shop :)

All designs, photos and contnet herein are ©Copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Designing and making a Yarn Bowl

Yarn bowls are a hot item right now.  I had never made them before.  These two are fresh from the kiln.  I started the process with making a few drawings to get some ideas about design and size. 
There are so many ways to make a yarn bowl unique.   It best to take the time to make it great and make it your own :)

After trimming my bowl, I got a piece of paper and practiced drawing the swirl and when I felt comfortable, I used a stylus and free handed a swirl on my leather hard bowl. 

I used an X-acto knife to cut out the swirl.  I started at the top, but then decided I should begin at the middle of the swirl since that is the most delicate area and needs the most support.

I used a piece of foam to lean the bowl on while making the cuts.  I used a damp sponge to clean up and smooth down the sharp edges. 
I was concerned about the fragile swirl drying too fast in the dry Nevada air, so I coated both sides of the swirl and rim with wax resist.  

I covered the yarn bowls in plastic in such a way that they were supported to help them dry without warping.   At bone dry they were perfect, but after bisque firing I noticed a tiny bit of warping at the rim and swirl.

After glaze firing I notice more warping on the bowl with the larger swirl. 

I had fun and I learned a lot making these first bowls.  I will definately be making design changes and more yarn bowls.

Check out my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy shop for cute yarn bowls and other adorable pottery.

All designs, photos and content herein are owned by and ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Plaster Bowl for Reclaiming Clay Slurry

This is a continuation from my Plaster Slurry Bowl post.

As the bowl was drying it became apparent that the surface wasn't going to heal hard enough to use for reclaiming clay. When plaster isn't smooth it has a tendency to flake and crumble.
Since the bowl was still somewhat damp, John suggested that I attempt trimming out the uneven surface and air bubbles. (I would not suggest trimming dry plaster for obvious reasons).

Trimming plaster isn't much different than trimming clay, except plaster doesn't ribbon off, it just make little flakes.  I used a vacuum with  hepa filter to collect the trimmings.  After trimming I used a metal rib and burnished the heck out of the surface.
The result was very good!! Yea! The surface was smooth and hard.

UPDATE:  The bowl worked well for reclaiming slurry.

All designs, photos and written content herein are owned by and ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How much are you charging for that mug? Pricing handmade Pottery

The time, creativity, experience, effort, expense and love that goes into making a piece of pottery...   blah, blah, blah.    Let me just say, it's a total bargain :)

1- Drive to the next town to buy clay
2- Unload heavy boxes of clay into studio
3- Pug and blend clay
4- Weigh out clay
5- attach bat to pottery wheel
6- throw mug
7- cover and wait for mug to get medium leather hard
8- Pull or extrude handle
9- wait for handle to firm up
10- remove mug from bat
11- trim mug
12- attach handle
13- decorate with bisque stamps
14- cover slow dry for a day or two
15- check handle for separation and repair if needed
16- move to green-ware rack until bone dry
17- final check for cracks and clean up
18- load in kiln
19- bisque fire slow for 12 hours
20- wait 24 hours for kiln to cool
21- unload kiln
22- check for imperfections
23- dust off with damp sponge
24- wax bottom 
25- apply detail glaze
26- wax over detail glaze
27- apply full glaze
28- clean off excess glaze
29- let glaze dry over night
30- load mug in kiln
31- glaze fire for 9 hours to 2185 degrees
32- wait 24 hours for kiln to cool
33- unload kiln
34- check for imperfections
35- set up photo stage
36- take photos at all angles
37- measure Height, width and capacity
38- edit photos in photoshop
39- create listing on etsy
40- if it doesn't sell fast enough - re-list on etsy
41- wrap in bubble wrap and box up for shipping
42- order postage and print out label
43- deliver to post office or fed ex (we don't get pickup in our area)
44- follow up with feedback

* All designs, photos and content herein are owned by and ©Copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.

DirtKicker Pottery is available for purchase on Etsy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Plaster Bowl for reclaiming throw slurry - Pottery Studio Tip

I have been thinking about making a plaster slurry bowl for a long time and today was the day.  

I used a wide plastic bowl that I bought at Walmart and a hump mold bowl form that I bought at  I used about 3 gallons of mixed pottery plaster.
Here is the plaster hump mold.  It came out really smooth and nice.
Here is the bottom of the plaster slurry bowl.   The bottom of the molds came out really nice and smooth.
The inside of the bowl came out with quite a few tiny air pits.   I need to figure a way to smooth it out..  Stay tuned!